TikTok boosts parental controls with update to Family Pairing feature


The parents of teenage TikTok users can now set their children’s accounts to private and disable comments as part of a security update to the platform.

The new features are being applied through the app’s Family Pairing feature, which enables parents or guardians to link their child’s account to their own.

Family Pairing was first introduced earlier this year as a way of helping parents better control what their children see on the video platform, and this latest update gives them the ability to turn off comments or videos or set to friends only, as well as turn off the search function and limit who can see the videos their child has liked.

The feature already allows parents to manage screen time on TikTok each day and to restrict the content that appears on the For You page of the app.

Alexandra Evans, TikTok’s head of child safety public policy in Europe, said Family Pairing was meant to provide teenagers with a “guardrail” as they used the app.

“The updates we are making today are the latest in a series of steps we have taken to give families the tools they need to create the TikTok experience that’s right for them,” she said.

“We know that when people feel safe, they feel free to express their creativity – that’s why safety is at the heart of everything we do.”

The move was praised by online safety experts, with Carolyn Bunting, chief executive of Internet Matters, saying such tools were important to keep parents aware and in control of their children’s safety online.

“It’s clear that social media companies need to do more to ensure their platforms are safe spaces for young people, so we welcome the new safety features that TikTok is adding to its Family Pairing feature,” she said.

“Ultimately, it’s often parents who have to balance their children’s safety with their enjoyment, and we know from our work at Internet Matters that children with parents who are engaged with what they’re doing online are safer online.

“Parental controls can be a great help to families, but priority must still be around finding time to have regular conversations with children about the spaces they enjoy online so we can deal with any issues that may arise.”